It’s always a good idea to keep a pulse on your family’s generosity factor. Generosity is one of those things you have to actively practice. If you’re having a hard time thinking of ways your family makes generosity intentional, here are a few ideas to get you geared up.
Let’s start by being generous with our time.
Give of my time?! You must think I’m crazy. After all, it seems as though we barely have enough time to do the things we need to do for our own families, let alone for others.
You can afford to be generous with your time when you:
#1 Volunteer as a Family
Check around your community for opportunities where the whole family can serve. This may look very different depending on the dynamics of your family.
Before having kids, my husband and I were able to take a ten-day mission trip to serve in Honduras. That would have been much more difficult to pull off with an infant (Although we did have friends bring their 2 year old…so brave!).
When we had toddlers and preschoolers in the house I had the chance to give of my time by serving in ministries that my kids could be a part of.
Now that they are a nearer to the upper elementary ages, we are able to serve doing things that they can be more active participants in. Even this stage has taken some trial and error.
We started by trying out a local homeless shelter. After one of the guests shared some choice words very angrily and loudly with another guest, we decided that perhaps this might be better when we have teens.
We hit the jackpot with our local food bank. The first Saturday of the month is Family Day. We show up with other families and sort fruit or bag rice. It’s always a job that kids can easily help with. The kids work hard and know that their service eventually benefits others.
Being generous with our finances can be tricky, especially when the budget is tight. Try these ideas to help dish out the dollars.
#2 Implement the “Skip”
Try finding one area of spending that can be cut so that the money saved can be donated instead. For example, skip a family dinner out and use that money to buy food for your local food bank. Then my family and I can go sort it, haha! Be sure to have a talk with your kids about why you’re skipping and what the benefits will be for others. Check out skip1.org for an online way to donate your “skipped” money.
#3 Pass the Giving “Bug” to Your Kids
Give your children the opportunity to be generous with their finances too! In our house, we don’t do chores to earn money. Our children receive money each week simply because we want them to practice budgeting wisely. We require that at least 20% be put in their savings account and at least 10% be allotted for giving.
#4 Shop Intentionally
If the budget is just way too tight, be more intentional about where you shop. Try finding companies that have give-back models, practice fair trade in other countries, or donate a portion of their profits to a cause you want to support. If you’re going to spend the money anyways, be willing to possibly spend just a little more to make it count!
Being generous always makes a person feel good. This last idea makes your home feel good too!
#5 Don’t be Too Attached to “Stuff”
Since my kids were very little, we always implemented the practice of giving our things to the Goodwill or local charities. We never wanted our kids to be too attached to material things. When birthdays and Christmas rolled around, we would go through closets and toy boxes and see which items we could donate. And that didn’t mean just purging the old, junky toys. A lot of times the items were in nearly new condition. Keeping the amount of toys we allowed our kids to have at any given time kept the clutter at bay and helped build a strong habit of generosity. Now that they’re older, going through closets and purging is a breeze.
We’d love to hear your ideas for building a legacy of generosity.